Multiwavelength Astronomy

Photo of Riccardo Giacconi

X-ray Impact, Riccardo Giacconi

A Methodology for Astronomy

Out of the blue in 1980 I received a call asking if I would be interested in becoming the first director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore. My first reaction was disbelief that I would be considered. It was due to my wife’s advice that I did not reject this out of hand and went for an interview. Once again I found that my past activities seemed to fit the requirements of the position. I could contribute a wealth of managerial and operational experience relevant to the Hubble Space Telescope, which was in development at the time.

Since my days at AS&E, I followed a method for managing projects that I would describe simply as LEARN-THINK-PLAN-DO. I learned this method while still a Fulbright Fellow at Indiana University, from the physicist Robert W. Thompson. With the creation of STScI, we were able to implement this type of management method from the very beginning. The Institute was not responsible for Hubble’s construction and programming, but we were responsible the selection of science targets and the conduct of scientific operations, so we went over every detail to ensure the mission’s success.

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This material is based upon work supported by NASA under Grant Nos. NNX09AD33G and NNX10AE80G issued through the SMD ROSES 2009 Program.

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